There was a lot of hope for the Graveyard of Empires, who held a regular spot in the top ten in the early game. It was easy to see why from this picture alone: back in the days of warriors, archers and chariots, they had a huge homeland and an army to be terrified of.
For much of the game they never seemed to be under much threat. Even when Vietnam declared war on them, most of us predicted them only losing a few cities before the mountains made further losses impossible. Not for the first time, the world may have underestimated the Vietnamese: before too long, the Afghans were down to their last three cities, which would later be taken by Sibir.